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Runoff elections in Mississippi moved back a week

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

  • Legislation passed and signed into law this year shifts runoff elections to four weeks after the initial Election Day instead of three.

Runoff elections in Mississippi will now be four weeks after the initial Election Day instead of three.

SB 2144, authored by State Senator Jeremy England (R), passed during the 2024 session changing the runoff period. The legislation, which went to conference, passed the House by a vote of 118-1 and the Senate 50-1. Governor Tate Reeves (R) signed the bill, with an effective date of July 1.

Senator England told Magnolia Tribune on Monday that the main reason for moving the runoff elections from three weeks to four was to give Circuit Clerks and election officials more time to properly prepare for a runoff.

“In Mississippi, results must be certified within 10 days after Election Day, which then leaves only 11 days remaining prior to the runoff,” England explained. “Clerks’ offices also have to open for two Saturdays before an election. This has always been a difficult time crunch, but it was made even more so with the move to paper ballots.”

He said the issue of moving runoff elections back a week was requested by many of the people who handle elections in the state, including the Secretary of State’s office and the associations for the County Circuit Clerks and Election Commissioners.

“The only pushback I received was from candidates,” England said. “Their concern was that the seven additional days will add more to campaign expenses – and it will also extend the time by which voters must be engaged.”

Voter turnout typically shrinks between an initial Election Day and a runoff election.

“The concern is that voters will lose even more interest if another week is added to the process,” England noted.

The Coast Senator added that some pointed out another concern related to General Election runoffs in November – Thanksgiving. He said some wanted to move the time frame to five weeks.

“There were too many issues, however, moving the date out by a full five weeks,” England said. “Consensus was that four weeks would work best.”

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

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